This recipe turned out to be completely different from what I had envisioned before I began. As always, I was inspired at the local Farmer’s Market. The end of summer signifies a transition between seasonal ingredients. I can begin to fuse together flavors of summer and fall. Light and hearty at the same time.
Here are the goodies I brought home: sweet orange and green “zebra” heirloom tomatoes, tiny potatoes, the smallest green and yellow beans known as “haricot verts”, farm fresh feta and a Japanese cucumber. My intention was to toss it all with some baby gem lettuce leaves and lemon shallot dressing. I blanched the beans, boiled the potatoes and sliced the cucumber.
As I began assembling the salad before photographing it I found myself picking at the vegetables. The thin beans were so sweet, the tiny potatoes were packed full of flavor, the Japanese cucumber was refreshing and cooling and the tomatoes tasted like dessert!
How could I throw all this in a bowl and smother it with dressing?? I wanted to appreciate each and every flavor individually. I ended up with this “deconstructed” salad you see in the photograph. We all enjoyed it just as you see it. I served the dressing on the side and we all dipped our veggies in it but sometimes we didn’t. I toasted some crusty whole wheat baguette bread and we spread the feta on top. This is the way to appreciate a “salad”. Delicious!
PS- Here’s a tip: leave your tomatoes on the counter for half an hour before you slice and serve. Fresh out of the fridge tomatoes kill the sweetness and sun kissed warmth which is the highlight of summer goodness!
Deconstructed Heirloom Tomato Salad
Roughly use a good handful of each ingredient per guest. Below are approximate weights but they will vary.
8 Ounces of assorted baby heirloom tomatoes, quartered
1 Small Japanese cucumber, rinsed, dried and sliced into large segments
8 Ounces of baby potatoes, rinsed
6 Ounces mixed baby beans (green, yellow, wax or blue lake beans), ends trimmed and rinsed
2 Ounces Fresh feta cheese
½ Shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 Teaspoon fresh thyme
Juice of ½ lemon (Meyer lemon variety if available)
1 Cup good quality olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Combine all ingredients into a jar or small bowl with lid. Give it a good shake. Put it in the fridge until you need it.
For the Salad:
Place potatoes in a small pot. Add water until potatoes are just covered. Add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain and place in the fridge until chilled.
Using the small pot again, add a few cups of water and bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
Have a bowl near by with some ice cubes and water.
Add the beans to the simmering water. Cook for only a few minutes. Between 2-4 minutes depending on thickness of the beans. Blanch until color just turns bright green.
Drain the beans immediately and put them in the bowl of ice water.
Once chilled, about 3-5 minutes, drain onto a paper towel and place in fridge until needed.
Cut tomatoes in half or quarters, depending on size. Cut potatoes in half.
Place beans in center of plate and decorate with remaining vegetables and feta cheese.
Drizzle with a touch of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Serve dressing on the side for dipping.
All recipes © Laura Dove